People N Patrons

A Library Kiosk At the Station

The Toronto Public Library is studying the idea of installing an automated kiosk at Union Station, where patrons could borrow a book with the simple swipe of their library cards at any time of day.

It’s not a new concept — these machines have been in place in Europe and in the United States — but the idea is slowly gaining steam in Canada.

Earlier this year, the library board agreed to investigate the idea of installing one of these self-service kiosks, in part because it would create a visible presence in a busy hub that is being renovated. By 2016, 330,000 passengers are projected to pass through the station daily.

“They look like vending machines that can hold books, paperbacks, hard covers, CDs and DVDs,” said Anne Bailey, director of branch libraries for the Toronto Public Library. A simple touch screen allows borrowers to see what in the machine.

“We’re often asked for service in locations where we wouldn’t want to put a branch. This might be a way to offer some level of service in a cost-effective manner.”

The cost for a single library kiosk and related collections is estimated at about $200,000 plus additional ongoing operating costs of about $15,000 a year. A branch library could cost millions.

Does your library, or a library that you know of have an off-site kiosk? How are things working out for them?

Sex Offender Policy

Because of the other story about happenings at the Urbandale, Iowa library I took a look at their website. On their policy page there is a "Sex Offender Policy" listed.

Excerpt from policy: In accordance with Chapter 692A of Subtitle 1 of Title 16 of the Code of Iowa, sex offenders
convicted of sex offenses against minors are prohibited from being on library property or loitering
within 300 feet of library property without written permission of the Library Director.

I am curious how other libraries and states are dealing with the issue of sex offenders. What policy does your library have? Do you agree with the policy? Do you think it is effective? Is a state law or city ordinance the impetus for your policy?

Escaping the Summer Heat in a Bookmobile

A recent study found that making books available to low-income children had a significant impact on preventing the reading gap.

On NPR this morning, W. Ralph Eubanks reminisces about visiting the bookmobile as a child. He is the author of The House at the End of the Road: The Story of Three Generations of an Interracial Family in the American South and Ever Is a Long Time: A Journey Into Mississippi's Dark Past and Director of Publishing at the Library of Congress.

"When I feel the summer heat steaming from the pavement, my childhood memories of the bookmobile provide a cooling sensation to my spirit. This feeling came back last summer on a visit to Chicago when I happened upon a parade of bookmobiles of various ages. There it was: an old Ford grille with big, round headlights that was a dead ringer for the bookmobile that stopped at my house as a child. "

More from NPR.

Did You Leave Something Inside a Book?

Found at the Burlington MA Public Library:

A photo of a black puppy with a toy bunny in its mouth.
A mass card for Rev. John R. Crispo.
A Happy Mother’s Day card for “Nana.”
A purple “Award of Excellence” ribbon.
A piece of lined paper colored with bright dots of purple, yellow, blue and green and the words “Juliana Book Mark.”

While these items once helped people find their place in a library book, they now decorate a green board with a “Did you lose your bookmark?” sign in Burlington’s Town Library. Library staff put items found in returned books on the board in hopes that library patrons will be reunited with items of sentimental value.

“To us, some bookmark (someone’s) child gave them has no monetary value but its sentimental,” said Cara Thissell, the circulation librarian. She had the idea to put up the board a few years ago, as an alternative to throwing out the sentimental items.

Now, it’s an evolving piece of art in the library. “We leave it up until it starts falling over,” Thissell said. “We don’t really police it. Kids climb up on the bench to look at it.” Story from Boston.com.

Not a Member of the Georgetown Community? Then Don't Use The Library's Computers.

Georgetown University's Lauinger Library is about to get a bit roomier.

Changes to the University’s notoriously lax computer usage policy, which once led Washington City Paper to name Lauinger Library as one of D.C.’s best places to mooch internet access, will make it more difficult for guests to use the library’s computers.

“The impetus for the Library’s new computer policy is to ensure that our services and spaces are readily accessible to members of the Georgetown University Community,” Jessica Pierce, Executive Assistant to University Librarian Artemis Kirk, wrote in an email. “Lauinger Library is a heavily used building and we are constantly challenged to ensure that our resources are available to our primary users.”

Under the new policy, which takes effect on August 5, only 12 computers in the library will remain available to guests: ten on the third floor between the circulation and reference desks, one next to the printer on the second floor, and one across from the elevator on the fifth floor.

When the City Paper article was written last February, University guests had access to nearly every computer in the library, save for the ones meant for specialized tasks, such as editing or scanning.

Although the new policy seems to force out guests, it simultaneously “encourage[s] guests to bring their own laptops to Lauinger Library and take advantage of the free wireless network available throughout the building.”

Novel Approach: Reading Courses as an Alternative to Prison

And now...the other side of the coin. How enforced reading can help rehabilitate former and would-be offenders as reported by the Guardian UK. The program, Changing Lives Through Literature, is described here.

When Mitchell Rouse was convicted of two drug offences in Houston, the former x-ray technician who faced a 60-year prison sentence – reduced to 30 years if he pleaded guilty – was instead put on probation and sentenced to read.

"I was doing it because it was a condition of my probation and it would reduce my community hours," Rouse recalls. The 42-year-old had turned to meth as a way of coping with the stress of his job at a hospital where he frequently worked an 80-hour week. Fearing for his life, Mitchell's wife turned him into the authorities. "If she hadn't, I would be dead or destitute by now," he says. -- Read More

Are library late fees inherently discriminatory?

Blogger wolfshowl asks, "Are library late fees inherently discriminatory and classist?" in the post "On Library Late Fees"

Any library, whether public, academic, school, or special, is about providing equal service to all members of its community. Although patrons may be split into groups that are treated somewhat differently, such as children’s versus adult’s cards in public libraries, those divisions are usually based on proven responsibility and need. Some argue that late fees are charged evenly across all groups, so they are fair, but I’m not so sure.

Full post here: On Library Late Fees

Idaho Condiment Vandal Rearrested on a Bench Warrant

BOISE, ID -- The 74-year-old woman who is suspected of dumping condiments in a library book return bin on multiple occasions was rearrested Monday.

A bench warrant was issued for Joy L. Cassidy after she failed to show at a court hearing on charges that stemmed from the vandalism at the library.

Cassidy was first arrested on June 13, when police say she poured mayonnaise in the Ada County Library's book drop box that day and has been a person of interest in at least 10 other condiment-related crimes (ketchup, corn syrup, etc.)

Reference Librarian Enjoys His Patrons, His Books and Getting Feedback

As modern-day reference desks go, the one at the DeLand library is still more focused on books than some, and that's OK by Sean Hurley.

He loves books and the people who read them.

Most reference librarians in the Volusia (FL) County library system spend a fair amount of time assisting people on the patron computers that sit near the reference desk, but in DeLand the two departments are on separate floors.

That doesn't mean Hurley, 50, and the other reference librarians don't stay busy at their upstairs desk. On any given day, the desk is a hive of activity with a steady stream of patrons looking for assistance as they navigate the tall shelves of the library's nonfiction and reference sections.

"I love it," Hurley says. "It's the best job I ever had."

Patrons who don't ask for help are likely to get an offer of assistance from Hurley.

"I enjoy helping people," he says. Yes, even the ones who show up at 6 p.m. researching a report due the next morning.

More from News Journal Online.

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